Poetry Class

by James B. Nicola

There seemed no space for saying what is so in poetry without Professor Pine, when asked, ‘Is this a poem?’ saying No, it’s only verse. ‘As in a valentine?’ I’d asked, ‘with red-rose’d heart and yearning blue?’ Such verse is not a poem. ‘By design or execution, dear Professor?’ Who are you? he asked, perplexed. I’d dyed my hair that day. I think he thought that I was new but finally he noticed I was there. For Valentine’s Day, Pine wrote me a poem. Only it was verse. I didn’t care.

James B. Nicola’s poetry has garnered two Willow Review awards, a Dana Literary award, eight Pushcart nominations, and one for Best of the Net. His full-length collections include Manhattan Plaza, Stage to Page: Poems from the Theater, Wind in the Cave (2017), Out of Nothing: Poems of Art and Artists (2018), Quickening: Poems from Before and Beyond (2019), and Fires of Heaven: Poems of Faith and Sense (2021). A Yale graduate, he has also enjoyed a career as a stage director, culminating in the nonfiction book Playing the Audience: The Practical Guide to Live Performance, which won a Choice award.